The Truckload Carriers Association is providing a new opportunity for small carriers to learn more about operations, maintenance, and safety performance through a 12-month educational program, Small Carrier University.
Amanda Pearson, of the TCA Profitability Program, said more than 120 carriers have been participating in benchmarking groups. As those numbers continue to grow, there is a need to incorporate small carriers. Small Carrier University will help those carriers prepare to participate in the benchmarking groups.
“All too often, leadership is wearing many hats spending time putting out fires. Planning growth initiatives, tracking KPIs, and trending data fall by the wayside," Pearson explained. "Our goal is to help small carriers by identifying the KPIs that best match their goals, understanding and developing the cadence for tracking, and the processes that lead to improvement."
TCA hosts benchmarking groups for several modes; van, reefer, flatbed, bulk, and brokerage. Participants in these groups submit monthly financial reports and receive composite reports specific to their groups. Also, TCA provides access to hundreds of key performance indicators that allow carriers to benchmark.
The benchmarking groups meet two or three times per year. During those meetings, group members spend two days discussing topics related to a specific department. Pearson explained those can include operations, maintenance, cybersecurity, recruiting/retention, and other relevant topics.
Small Carrier University
During TCA's Small Carrier University, participants will be exposed to instruction, discussion, and business analysis designed to achieve better carrier performance. The program will provide instruction in 29 key business metrics, the definition and purpose of these performance indicators, and the identification of accounts impacting the performance measurement.
Students will learn to identify over- and underperformance indicators and structure strategic recommendations for improvement or sustainment, according to TCA. Upon successful completion, the participants will be knowledgeable of TCA’s benchmarking groups and prepared for participation in them.
To successfully complete the program, students must turn in required assignments and attend three virtual classes, ranging in length from 90 to 120 minutes. Those classes will cover operations, maintenance, and safety. Virtual sessions are scheduled for:
- Thursday, July 27, 2023
- Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023
- Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024
- Annual convention class session in March 2024
Small Carrier University will involve more than just the three sessions and a chance to network with class peers during the annual convention. Pearson, who is the facilitator who will be leading the program, will be connecting with carriers monthly to provide market insight and discuss industry hot topics. She said a significant part of this program is business analysis. Each carrier will be submitting monthly data for his or her company and then receive analysis.
“For many small carriers, this will be their first foray into KPI tracking. We’ll spend a lot of time understanding the accounting/reporting required, the importance of each metric, and how to positively influence change,” Pearson added.
Small Carrier University Eligibilty and Cost
TCA member carriers with fewer than 99 total power units, across all modes, are eligible to apply. Each cohort will be made up of mixed haul modes. The program also gives participants access to a truckload profitability consultant for the duration of the enrollment period.
There is a set-up fee of $299 and a monthly enrollment fee of $479 for 12 months, however, those who choose to pay the full year in one payment will receive a $100 discount on the enrollment fee.
Program and registration information is available on the TCA website.